On Being Brown + Round in the Health Profession

There was a debate (and I use that term loosely) when the pictures of Moana and the demigod Maui were released, about the representations of the men and women of Polynesia.

Image result for moana disney 2018

A lot of the disappointment that I witnessed stemmed from the idea that Maui was too “fat” and “ugly”. There were other opinions that Moana and Maui’s bodies should have been switched as the Island girls are stereotypically that big.

Obviously, I was so disappointed when I saw this reaction. It was based on insecurities and pettiness. Because I myself had been so excited about having a Polynesian story on the big screen. Nevertheless this reaction did not change my view that Maui the Demigod looked strong and fighting fit.

Just like in the Western world, Polynesia have a culture of fat shaming and belittling the big and fat of us all. But that is for another post.

Ive been working as a Physiotherapist for 3 years now. Ive had a long struggle with weight issues since I finished high school and yoyo-ed like Zach Gormley. And believe me when I say it was hard to show up to learning about healthy living as a physio student when you have weight issues. I get the irony trust me.

But I want to talk about how bodies like mine, and like Maui the demigod… and like so many other Pacific Islanders are a certain type of body type. Not fat. Not overweight. Not obese. Our bodies are just…well our bodies.

I was taking a course last year where we were taping ankles. Note, as usual Im the only brown girl (Cmon folks, get into Physio!) And the tutor was taping mine. And besides being flat footed, I do have big feet according to Western standards… but that’s just what they are… my Island feet. And as she was taping, she seemed to have a hard time maybe. Because she commented saying that… “It’s okay, Island girls always have gumby feet” and people chuckled. Heck I chuckled too. And then I didnt.

Are you blaming me for your inability to tape my perfectly normal foot? Like seriously. That experience got me thinking for the longest time about how we treat people we see, especially people of colour. And how the health profession blames being fat on many ailments- not that this is not always wrong, but sometimes, it is a scapegoat.

I think we need to do better about learning about different body types and stop pushing this weird idea of what is “normal”. Cause trust me what is “normal” for white folks is definitely not “normal” for Island folks. I have assessed a few Island boys that were huge, but were strong and flexible. And they have been called “fat” and “obese” by my colleagues.

So Im asking that we have an open mind about these things. Dont just assume that people are fat and unhealthy. Fat does not equal unhealthy. And fat does not equal ugly.

Thanks for reading.



letter to my 19 year old shy and introverted self

hey lovely

so you have a crush? Lol and it’s killing you from the inside out. I mean, what’s the difference between this guy and every other weirdo you’ve fallen in lust with? I know it sucks babe. It sucks the fricking air out your lungs. And I know you tried so hard not to let this guy get to you. Cause he was one of the ones you always kind of thought was cute. but who cares about cute? There are worlds to be seen.

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im not apologising for being a feminist

i feel like i just need to get these thoughts out of my head… which have been quite dormant until i was trying to find beyonces vma performance anywhere and only came to articles and news videos. i generally dont like to read youtube comments, or any kind of commentary when it comes to a few of my favourite artists in the music industry (because, well… have a look for yourself)…(most notably beyonce, rihanna and nicki minaj- i hold these ladies in high respect because theyre not only pretty great at what they do but they are wonderfully unapologetic about their image)

so. beyonce is a feminist. you know who cares? feminists, some of her fans.. and ALL those who are OBVIOUSLY not. first of all. beyonce is NOT the spokesperson for feminists… nor has she said she is one. she aint perfect (as much as it hurts me to say). even i cant excuse the whole ‘anna mae’ business.

which begs the question… what is a feminist?

yes we know the dictionary definition: feminist- a male/female who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. i really cant bold that enough.

but do we really understand that?

i think it’s important to define what feminism is to me. feminism is a positive social change towards a world that is less prejudiced against women; feminism is about empowerment. misogyny, though not always a conscious hate is really quite engrained in our way of thinking. i will advocate for women where i can and as im me, this generally means that i will educate those who dont understand what feminism is and call out those shitting on it (tho im not going to argue with lost causes).

a few weeks ago, i was chillin with one of my mates and he saw a girl wearing whatever she was wearing and he says, ‘now she’s just asking to be raped’…

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